Knowing backdoor attacks: Consequences, risks, and steps for mitigation

Knowing backdoor attacks: Consequences, risks, and steps for mitigation

Hackers don’t really need to find new means and ways to attack businesses, especially when existing vulnerabilities can be exploited. For the unversed, a backdoor is basically a means that’s used for accessing a system, server, resource, or device, by bypassing standard security procedures and authentication methods. Cybersecurity teams often know of backdoors, or create these, to manage IT resources. However, if a hacker manages to use a backdoor, that’s a backdoor attack, and it can have serious consequences. Companies have had IP cameras hacked, systems compromised, simply because cybercriminals could get use the vulnerabilities to their benefit. 

In this post, we are discussing more on backdoor attacks¸ what these attacks occur, and how to minimize the risks. 

 Why do hackers launch backdoor attacks?

The purpose of backdoor attack can vary, but in general, it is always about bypassing existing security perimeters. Hackers may be interested in data theft, website defacing, hijacking IT networks and servers, launching DDoS attacks, or just attacks visitors of a website. Your business should be concerned about backdoor attacks for two reasons – 

  1. Hackers can actually keep causing harm without the knowledge of cybersecurity teams. 
  2. Backdoor attacks are usually hard to find. 

Ways to prevent backdoor attacks

There are some basic measures that can prevent backdoor attacks – 

  • Use network scanning and penetration testing. Fixing the existing vulnerabilities is key to preventing backdoor attacks. Test your networks time and again to find suspicious activities, and do penetration testing regularly.
  • Review the need for existing backdoors. If your IT teams know or have created backdoors on purpose, review the need for the same periodically. The ideally is to close known backdoors, when not required, so that a hacker doesn’t access the same. 
  • Focus on multifactor authentication. Bypassing passwords, especially simple passwords, is rather easy. Ensure that you have a second or third layer of protection, which could be security questions, biometrics, and onetime passwords. 
  • Password protection is also important. Ask your employees to change default passwords immediately, and make sure that they are using a password manager. Use the lockout feature, so that brute force attacks can be prevented. 

Finally, review your cybersecurity policies, and ensure that all networked devices are placed behind firewalls. Using antimalware software, network segmentation, and spam filters can be also handy for preventing backdoor attacks. Keep a watch of who has access to sensitive data and resources, and monitor those accounts regularly, updating access rights as needed.  

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